Shuffle the Deck: Card Games That Keep Your Mind, Body and Soul Young

There is a lot of literature and concern regarding keeping the body fit and looking young.  However, it’s extremely important to do the same for the mind, which affects the body and keeps the soul young too.  A range of games and activities help keep the brain fit: chess, card games, crossword puzzles, etc.  However, crosswords are usually done alone and only two people can play chess.  However, card games allow for a larger number of players.

Uno

Uno requires a bit of luck and strategy.  The first player to accumulate 500 points is the winner.  Players are dealt cards and then attempt to discard them.  Cards consist of numbers and colors along with special cards such as a wildcard and a reverse card.  It requires a bit of strategy; for example, if a player has a ‘Draw Four’ card, they may want to hold onto it until they observe another player about to go out of the game.  Or, you may want to throw down a ‘Skip’ card so the person after you does not get a turn.

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Blackjack

Blackjack is a widely popular game and simple enough to quickly teach another person the basics.  The goal is to get a combination of cards to equal 21 (or as close as possible) in order to beat the dealer or other players.  It can be played with one or more traditional decks of cards.  In a casino setting, special circumstances come into play, such as doubling down on a bet or splitting the cards you have into two hands.

Gin Rummy

The objective of this game is to score points and reach a particular number of points before an opponent.  A player wants to form ‘melds’ while discarding ‘deadwood.’  Melds are sets of 3 or 4 cards of the same suit.  Deadwood cards do not fit into a present meld.  Different versions of the game, such as Hollywood Gin, can be played.  In Hollywood Gin, a second set of cards determines the ‘knock’ value of a hand.  The knock card is dealt from the bottom and turned over on the top.

Hearts

Players try to get rid of high cards without winning points.  It’s good to play the highest card without winning a trick.    The game is played with 4 players, although some games call for 3 or 6.  Along with Bridge and Spades, Hearts is a trick-taking game.  In addition to avoiding tricks, players try to avoid winning particular penalty cards.  When a passing player is trying to get rid of cards, they also try to create voids.  Hearts is among the most beloved of family card games because it is competitive and requires a number of players.

Memory

Memory can be played with a normal card deck or a special deck that features pictures rather than numbers and suits.  Basically, all of the playing cards are turned down, and players get to pick two cards at a time.  If the two chosen cards are a match, then the player gets to keep the set and the cards are taken out.  However, if two different cards are chosen, then they are both turned back over.  As the game progresses, those with great memory (who can remember where different cards are positioned), will do better at accumulating sets to eventually win.

Luca Quinn is a Mom of 3 who saves money on every purchase she can. She loves the thrill of saving money which she can then spend to treat the kids. Read her frugal, money saving articles to find out how.

Changing Your Buy-More Mindset: Why Repairing Beats Replacing Worn-Out Household Items

Be honest. When something breaks, your first thought is to throw it away and buy something that’s new.

We all do it. But, did you know that repairing something that’s old can actually make it stronger and better than buying that same thing new again? If you’ve ever wondered whether something was worth repairing, here are a few fixes that should get you thinking .

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Furniture

Furniture seems like something you just dispose of when it gets old. But, well-made furniture can last generations. Wobbly legs and torn upholstery are the most common things that “break” on a couch or chair, but these can be replaced pretty easily.

Tables, especially older tables, are usually very well made and sturdy. So, if something like a table leg is broken, you can buy new table legs and fix the thing for a lot less than what a new table would cost you. And, you’ll have a hard time finding a new table of the same quality as an older one made of pine or a hard wood.

Your Shoes

Assuming you get really nice shoes, or at least shoes that can be cobbled, repairing your shoes is much cheaper than buying new every time. Find a local shoe repair shop to resole your old shoes. A good cobbler can fix worn-out heels and bring your shoes back to life. They can even fix scuffed leather. He or she might also be able to fit your shoes with new insoles and stretch them so they fit better.

A good pair of shoes can be resoled about 10 times. Heels can be fixed up to 15 or 20 times, and at a fraction of the cost for a new pair.

Your local shoe repairman can also repair leather belts and fixed damaged luggage, too.

Clothing

Some types of clothing can be repaired without too much trouble. A master tailor, for example, can fix almost anything. A well-made shirt, blouse, skirt, or pants — even jeans — can be sewn up and repaired.

Some Outdoor Gear

Things like tents and backbacks, sleeping bags, and other outdoor gear can be fixed for a lot less than what it’d cost you to buy them new. Some companies, like Rainy Pass Repair, will fix them for you without you having to do much other than ship the items to them and pay a simple fee for the repair. North Face will also fix damaged camping gear.

Some Appliances

Fixing things like washers and dryers doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take skill. Still, a professional can replace the belt on a washer, returning it to “like new” status. Dryers can have their heating elements and coils replaced and start drying like they were just purchased yesterday.

Most people spend about $200 to fix a busted appliance, according to Home Advisor. But this is much more affordable than spending $2,000 to buy a new washer/dryer set. Consider it.

Other appliances, like microwaves and dishwashers, and lawnmowers all have replaceable parts. And, in most cases, they can be fixed for a lot less than buying new.

Niamh Sheppard is a make do and mend kind of girl. She loves thrifting, upcycling, supporting small local businesses and boycotting plastic! She contributes to a range of websites with her frugal focused articles.

Canine Clues: Why Your Dog Whines and What You Can Do About It

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You love your dog, but you can’t stand all the whining. What can you do about it? Many dog owners don’t really understand dog psychology that well. They want to have a happy dog, but at the same time they don’t know what to do to get from here to there.

Fortunately, the ASPCA has some killer tips for you to follow:

Some Reasons Why Dogs Whine

One of the main reasons dogs whine is for appeasement or attention-seeking. Some dogs will whine excessively when they interact with other dogs or even people. Usually, this is while adopting a submissive posture. Sometimes, this behavior is done as a way to get attention – a favorite toy, a treat, or food.

Another reason for whining is a form of greeting. During greeting, some dogs vocalize their excitement and that might be directed towards you or another dog.

A reason that’s becoming more common is anxiety. When a dog whines in response to a stressful situation, and you reinforce it, it creates a cycle where the dog learns to whine because of the situation – creating more stress for pooch.

Separation anxiety is when you leave the dog alone during the day or night and that absence causes the dog to whine. Usually, dogs suffering from separation anxiety display one other symptom of the disorder, like panting, pacing, excessive drooling, or a destructive behavior.

When your dog is injured, it can cause whining. If you notice that your dog vocalizes frequently for no apparent reason, check for injuries, especially when the whining is accompanied by limping, or favoring of a particular side, leg, or some body part or when the dog engages in guarding behavior of a body part.

What You Can Do About Whining

Frustrated dog owners sometimes resort to violence against the dog. This is never a good idea and, in many cases, may be illegal and considered abuse. Dogs can try to appease people or other dogs when they perceive that there’s a threat or aggression being directed towards them.

You don’t want this kind of behavior to take hold. You also don’t want the dog to become aggressive, or suffer from any kind of anxiety.

Teach your dog hand targeting, and spend more time training the dog how to behave. Hand targeting is done by extending your arm out in front of your dog’s nose. Wait until the dog touches your nose and then reward the dog. Repeat this process until the dog learns that this is the goal.

If your dog becomes distracted, do not touch your hand to the dog’s nose – this will not reinforce hand targeting.

If you’re having trouble with this basic exercise, contact northern NJ dog trainers for help.

If your dog whines during greetings, you can divert his or her attention to her favorite toys. But, the best exercise is to train dog not to whine excessively when you arrive. This is done by establishing new behaviors when you arrive at home. Instead of pacing and whining, teach dog to sit calmly.

Note that this may take a long time, especially if dog has already learned that whining is an acceptable or tolerated behavior from you.

Avoid encouragement of whining by not speaking in an overly excited tone of voice, yelling or encouraging the dog to jump on you or otherwise display unwanted behavior. Consistency is key.

How to Know When an Electrical Panel Upgrade is Necessary

One of the most important systems in your home is the electrical one. Electricity flows at high voltages across power lines and enters your home through several transition points. The incoming electricity is mainly controlled through your electrical panel. This control center distributes energy throughout your home for convenient, everyday use. You may wonder when it’s an appropriate time to upgrade your panel, however. Consider some of these situations when panel upgrades Jacksonville are required projects.

Flickering Lights

When you turn on multiple lights around the home, you should never see any flickering occurring. Flickering means that the electrical flow is unsteady within the household. Essentially, you’re overloading the circuits to the point of unbalance, but it’s not enough to trigger any circuit breakers. You may need a panel upgrade in these cases. The circuits need to be rearranged, so that the flickering stops for good.

Major Remodeling Project Considerations

The family might be adding on a new bathroom or bedroom suite to the home. This major remodeling or addition project definitely requires a new panel. In most cases, the original electrical panel is designed for the existing circuitry layout. When you add a room with extra outlets and power needs, you place strain on the other circuits. A qualified electrician should visit the home and add the new panel that’s designed to work with the new addition.

Tripped Breakers

One resident is running the vacuum cleaner while another person turns on the hair dryer. As a result of this combination, your panel trips one or more breakers. Although circuit breakers are designed to operate in this manner, they shouldn’t be a frequent occurrence. When you visit the electrical panel on a regular basis, it’s time to contemplate a new panel installation.

Fire Hazard and Energy Conservation Concerns

Some homes are so old that they still have fuses as their circuit controls. If you have a panel in this condition, it should be replaced as soon as possible. Old-fashioned fuse boxes are fire hazards, and they can’t handle today’s advanced electronics. Keep your family safe with a panel upgrade that will also improve your energy conservation over time.

Electrical voltage and current are highly dangerous so homeowners should turn to professionals for their upgrading needs. Ideally, contact a trusted contractor who has worked on your system before. In the end, you’ll have a safe household ran by an energy-efficient panel.

Infographic on Home Improvements You Can Make This Year

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Infographic source:  Avant.com